“You were sleeping, we were daydreaming,” was the ingenious and legendary headline that occurred to a sports journalist in the country when the Spanish basketball team defeated the United States for the first time, in the World Cup in Colombia, in August 1982. Ten years later, Spain was living a nightmare at home among dreams. A ‘angolazo’ among the continuous exhibitions of the unrepeatable Dream Team. Not only was it the biggest failure in the Barcelona ’92 Games, but it has also been one of the most notorious fiascos in the history of Spanish sport. “Yes to the third Angolan!” read in the following matches an ironic and no less ingenious banner displayed in the Olympic Pavilion in Badalona, where Spain led by Antonio Díaz Miguel was humiliated by an African team that made the second sport hit rock bottom. from the country.
Faced with the ridicule of national basketball, the United States marveled, sending NBA professionals to an Olympic event for the first time, to have a team for eternity, a true ‘dream team’ made up of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird… A group of mythical figures, far from the arrogance of members of other later and misnamed Dream Teams, against which no one could compete in spectacle, popularity and victories. The display of basketball and magic was overwhelming, with the planet surrendering at the feet of some superstars who elevated the sport of basketball to heights never before or since known in a major international competition. And Barcelona’92 also became bigger at the pace of that American team, while the Spanish team, giving a shameful image, was defeated by Angola, by 20 points! (63-83) and became the object of ridicule, the victim of a lesser team that the Americans had defeated in their debut by 68 (116-48).
The rarefied atmosphere in Spanish basketball prior to the Olympic Games already predicted a bad outcome, although not the disaster that occurred against the Angolan team led by Jean-Jacques Conceiçao. The media representatives present at the scene of ignominy could not believe Spain’s plummet. Extra-sports problems, with players’ strike included in the League due to the third foreigner, affected the preparation of the team.
There was also no shortage of night outings for the players during that tournament, which was a continuous punishment for the national team, very depleted, among many other aspects, in the center position, with Antonio Martín and Juanan Morales injured and Fernando Romay and Ferrán Martínez ruled out. , although also in other positions, with Epi and Chechu Biriukov with physical problems. In its debut, Spain lost to Germany and could only beat Brazil by one point, and thanks to a final error by Oscar Schmidt. They also fell, as expected, to what would be the Olympic runners-up, Croatia -Drazen Petrovic scored 28 points-, but Angola arrived and national basketball suffered the biggest and saddest setback of all time, although later came the ‘chinazo’ in the Canada-94 World Cup and another ridiculous one at the 2014 World Cup in Spain.
“At the level of national teams, our team faces the historic challenge of the Olympics at an optimal moment in three aspects to consider: environment, results and quality of players,” stressed in July 1992 the special edited by the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE). ) dedicated to the Barcelona Games. Nothing further from reality. The ‘angolazo’ was the straw that broke the camel’s back in a team that eight years earlier reached an inimitable peak at the ’84 Los Angeles Games, with a memorable silver, and that from that milestone began the path towards collapse. In that match against Angola, the Spanish team had one of the most regrettable performances in its history, it received a beating and, of course, not even its last match, against the same rival in the dispute for ninth place, served as revenge. Díaz Miguel, in decline, would proclaim in a sad press conference: «I am not going to resign, I am not responsible. “This is not the end of a stage, but the beginning.” Faced with popular outcry, he was fired after 27 years in office.